Beannachtaí na Féile Padraig Ort! It’s St. Patrick’s Day this weekend so that of course means Irish-themed beer and everything green! With that in mind, here’s the roundup of news and events in Oregon beer for this St. Paddy’s Day weekend. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back occasionally. And if you have news to share, please let me know and I can get that updated too. Sláinte!
Friday, Mar. 16
Portland’s Kells Brewery kicks off the weekend with two festivals: the 27th annual St. Patrick’s Irish Festival and the 2nd annual Irish Beer Festival. The longer-running Irish Festival celebrates Irish heritage with traditional food and drink, music, and dancing, and spans four locations: “inside the original downtown Kells Irish Pub at 112 SW 2nd Ave.; in a festival tent located in the parking lot directly behind the pub; at Kells Brewery at 210 NW 21st Ave.; and in a festival tent located in the parking lot adjacent to the brewery.” The Irish Beer Festival will occupy the tent at the brewery on NW 21st Street so fest-goers can travel between the two. A number of Northwest breweries, and two from Ireland, will be pouring Irish-styled beers and ciders. Cost: “General admission, which includes a souvenir festival glass and seven tokens, will cost $10 for Friday between Noon and 5pm; $20 for Friday from 5pm to 1pm; and $20 all day Saturday. Most beers will cost one token for a taste or five tokens for a full glass; both ciders and select beers will cost additional tokens.” Cheers!
McMenamins also kicks off its weekend-long St. Patrick’s Day across the land at all locations on Friday. Look for Irish Stout, food specials, Devil’s Bit Whiskey, live music, and more. The locations hosting multi-day events are the Old Church in Wilsonville, the Gearhart Hotel, the Edgefield, the Grand Lodge, Old St. Francis School, Hotel Oregon, and Kennedy School.
Bend’s Broken Top Bottle Shop is hosting Ancestry Brewing for a beer tasting on Friday from 5 to 7pm: “Ancestry Brewing will be pouring samples from 5-7pm at Broken Top Bottle Shop! We will have Ancestry Porter and Tiny Umbrellas IPA on tap for the evening. Come for the brews, stay for the live music performance by Stacie Lynn Johnson starting at 7.”
My latest article in print is out today in the Bend Bulletin, in which I write about Pyka, the blackberry and apricot Berliner weisse from brewer Bryon Pyka. Pyka started out as a homebrewer who became accomplished at brewing sour ales at home, which helped get him the job at 10 Barrel Brewing. A font of delicate, fruity flavors:
The end result is a delicately fruity sour ale that’s rose-pink with a tinge of lavender in color. The aroma bears the lemony, tart lactic character typical of a Berliner weisse, with a bright fruit note reminiscent of berries and raspberry tea.
The flavor is puckeringly tart with a bright, abundant fruit presence. To my taste, it has a jammy quality of slightly under-ripe berries, with subtle stone fruit sweetness and an herbal tea quality that reveals a bit of astringency. It’s light-bodied and finishes clean and refreshing without overpowering with acidity.
I dig into the process and what went into the beer, and Pyka’s role at 10 Barrel. Go check it out.
Happy Bacchanalia (and the Ides of March) — think of it as the Roman pre-gaming fest to St. Patrick’s Day this Saturday. Here’s the Bacchanalian news in Oregon beer for this Thursday, March 15; as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back often. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that posted too.
McMenamins Kennedy School (Portland) has its limited-edition beer tasting today from 5 to 7pm, featuring Limey’s “Zest in Show” Lager: “If you’re showing up to the MKC Dog Show with eight (count ’em) kimonos and a Shih Tzu, this beer is for you. Months of training and cold conditioning ensure there will be no Flecks (nor Norwich Terriers) in sight. Citrus zest provides a fun twist, and you’d be wrong not to post this pint in a photo re-enactment of Casablanca. By the way, this beer can bench press 315 pounds!” That’s a colorful description…
Imperial Bottle Shop (Portland): The Division Street location is hosting Stone Circle Cider for a cider tasting tonight from 6 to 8pm: “Stop by to check out Stone Circle Cider from Estacada! We’ll be pouring their Farmhouse Semi-Dry and Sour Cherry ciders on tap. Get an 8 oz pour of both for only $6! We’ll also have bottles of both of those ciders plus their Farmhouse Dry and Sweet ciders for sale.”
Montavilla Brew Works (Portland) is hosting a tasting of Ben’s Barleywine tonight starting at 5pm: “Please join us as we gather together on March 15th to remember and celebrate the life of our old friend, Ben Flerchinger. Barleywine samples will be available for purchase and bottles will be available at a discounted price all day. Come and raise a toast!”
The topic for the next Session, coming up on the first Friday of April, has been announced by Thomas Cizauskas of Yours for Good Fermentables—Beer Gardens.
What is a beer garden? Or what isn’t a beer garden? Or what should a beer garden be? Or where is a beer garden?
Is a beer garden a place of foliage and shrubberies? Or is it a plot of concrete with umbrellas? Is a beer garden an outdoor bar? Or is it an outdoor Biergarten pavilion with Gemütlichkeit und Bier? Or is a beer garden to be found at a brewery with a hop trellis de rigueur?
Is a beer garden to be found outdoors, or can it be, alternatively, an interior third place, an arboretum with beer? Is a beer garden a real thing or is it a Platonic ideal, an imagined gueuzic nostalgia? Or is it a place indeed, once or often visited, not Bill Bryson in the woods, but Lew Bryson in a beer garden? If so, where is it? Tell us (with or without Lew).
The topic is beer gardens: whatever they may be, wherever they may be. And even your backyard, Olmsted-esque or humble, might be a Moon Over Beer garden. On Friday, 6 April, tell the world about it.
Look over Thomas’ directions for submitting and on Friday, April 6, share your thoughts about beer gardens.
Happy Pi Day! (Or more properly, π Day!) Here’s the Oregon beer news for this 3/14 for all you scientific-number-oriented people out there (and everyone else as well). As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news, so check back often for updates. And if you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated also.
Plank Town Brewing (Springfield) is hosting a fundraiser this evening benefiting Mount Pisgah Arboretum, from 5 to 9pm: “Join us for an evening of delicious food, finely-crafted brews and all around fun! Meet Arboretum Board Members and staff and kick back and relax for a great cause. Plank Town will donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to support our education programs and site maintenance.”
McMenamins Thompson Brewery (Salem) has its limited-edition beer tasting tonight, featuring a beer named, “This Is A Beer For A Superhero Named Tony. It’s Called Tony’s Beer.” That might be the longest name for a beer I’ve seen; about it: “If only our beer descriptions came equipped with a theme song! Pixie fans will get the reference. This one goes out to Tony Stiltz, one of the handful of folks who work on fixing all the things in the Kingdom. After saving the day by fixing the Thompson Brewery’s water heater, we had to make a beer for him. It’s a dry-hopped, copper-hued lager to honor all you superheroes!” The tasting runs from 5 to 7pm, and you’ll get a chance to meet brewer Jen Kent as well.
Portland’s Lombard House is hosting the Portland launch party for the new Grains of Wrath Brewing today starting at 7pm: “Mike Hunsaker will be hanging out at Lombard House while we sample three beers from his amazing line up. Featured Beers will include: Luger: German style Pilsner with hints of floral black tea, malt and hay, with a crisp finish. Chocolate Stout: roasted coffee, chocolate, vanilla. Overkill IPA: stone fruit, diesel, passion fruit, citrus, piney, dank.”
Caves Bier & Kitchen in Corvallis is holidng a beer tasting featuring Engine House No.9 out of Tacoma, from 5 to 7pm tonight: “We’ll have small plates from our kitchen paired with with five of their awesome beers on tap. A representative from the brewery will be in house to talk all things beer and be able to answer any questions!” A lineup of six beers will be available.
I just sent out the press release today (I’m current president of COHO) which is as follows:
The Central Oregon Homebrewers Organization (COHO) annual Spring Fling homebrew competition returns this April and is now accepting entries. The event takes place the weekend of April 27 – 29, 2019, at the Aspen Ridge Retirement Community in Bend.
Judging takes place Friday and Saturday, April 27 and 28, with the awards ceremony on Sunday, April 29. The awards ceremony is open to the public starting at 1:00 p.m. and in addition to the announcement of the winners there will be a raffle and the opportunity to sample many of the submitted beers.
Spring Fling is an AHA sanctioned event and open to any amateur homebrewer age 21 or older. Professional brewers are also welcome as long as their beer is brewed on a home-system and not a professional system. The competition is open to all homebrewed beer, mead, and cider represented in the 2015 BJCP Guidelines, and the deadline to submit entries is April 11.
Brewers may enter more than one beer in each category but may enter each subcategory only once. There is a limit of 350 total entries that will be accepted. Visit the official competition website at http://springfling.brewcompetition.com/ for full details and to register to participate in Spring Fling.
We had a record-breaking number of entries last year (363 I think) and this year it will be capped at 350. So if you’re interested, hit the website and get registered—you don’t have to submit any beers yet, but if you don’t get your entries registered in time, there’s always the risk of missing out, particularly as its gets close to the due date.
Here is the news in beer from around Oregon for this Tuesday, March 13; as usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day, so check back from time to time for the latest news. If you have news to share, please contact me and I can get that updated too.
Bailey’s Taproom (Portland) is welcoming BarrelHouse Brewing out of Paso Robles, California tonight fo BarrelHouse Rock! from 5 to 8pm: “Running Man Distributing is helping BarrelHouse Brewing Company bring their Paso Robles-brewed suds to the Portland market! Join us for this special PDX debut showcase and meet the Owners & Brewers of BHBC.” Looks like a nice lineup of IPAs ans sours, as well as bottles of BarrelHouse’s Nuestra Pina Pineapple Wild Sour available.
Montavilla Brew Works (Portland) has its Plywood Pilsner back on tap today: “Every year we brew some Pilsner with our buddies at Mr Plywood and we’re back at it again! This German-style Pilsner is loaded with 100% German Pilsner malt, Hersbrucker hops and German lager yeast. Light, delicious and refreshing. Come get it!”
Cascade Brewing (Portland): Today’s Tap It Tuesday at the Barrel House at 6pm is featuring Morning Blues: “a blend of sour blond and wheat ales aged for over two years in oak wine barrels with fresh blueberries followed by an infusion of Earl Grey tea. This blend is reminiscent of the soothing warmth of morning tea and a fresh bowl of fruit on a cozy, rainy morning.”
Deschutes Brewery (Bend): Tuesdays are Community Pints days at the Deschutes locations, where $1 of every pint of beer sold is donated to a local non-profit organization. For the month of March, the Bend locations are benefiting the Ronald McDonald House of Bend; in Portland, they are also benefiting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Oregon and SW Washignton. Also today at the Portland pub, from 11 to 4pm the Red Cross will be parked outside accepting blood donations. Get over to Deschutes and help out today with a pint or three.
Details have been set for this year’s Oregon Brewers Festival in July, the thirty-first edition of this annual favorite festival, and organizers have announced the details, including the brewery lineup.
The fest will run from Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29, in Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland. 80 breweries will be represented, from ten states as well as The Netherlands and Baja California (Mexico), and for the first time this year, there will be two ciders, from Cider Riot! and Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider, as well as white and red wine. In regards to the Mexican breweries, the press release said, “The northwestern Mexican state of Baja has defined itself as the country’s largest contingent for “cerveza artesanal,” and the festival is excited to present five breweries from that region.”
Here is the list of breweries that will be pouring beer this year:
While I don’t believe the beer list is finalized yet (I’m sure it’s close, but many times there have been last-minute revisions), the press release says, “The festival will present more than two dozen different beer styles ranging from Berliner Weisse to Belgians, IPAs to IPLs, pales to Pilsners, and sours to stouts.”
The format and pricing is the same as usual: free entry to the festival, mugs cost $7 (required for tasting), and tokens are $1 apiece. One token equals one taste, and four tokens fills your mug.
And the Fest has a shoutout to McMenamins this year for the opening parade on Thursday:
In celebration of their impact on Oregon brewing history, the McMenamins family has been chosen as this year’s ceremonial Grand Marshals to lead the parade and tap the official opening ceremony first keg. Soon after McMenamins opened Portland’s Barley Mill Pub on S.E. Hawthorne Blvd. 35 years ago, Brian and Mike McMenamin, along with other craft brewing pioneers, successfully lobbied their elected representatives to pass an Oregon bill allowing people to make and sell their beer onsite. The “brewpub” concept was born and McMenamins opened Oregon’s first post-Prohibition brewpub, the Hillsdale Brewery & Public House in S.W. Portland. Today, McMenamins remains a family run company and offers hundreds of varieties of handcrafted beers.
This looks like a terrific lineup of breweries this year, and if I’m counting correctly, 53 of the 80 are from Oregon—putting beer from the state front and center to its eponymous festival (as it should be). However don’t overlook the others, in particular the ones from Mexico, those are beers that will be new to many.
So start making your plans for the last full weekend in July. Remember, getting there early is best!
Are you ready for a new week? Here’s the week in Oregon beer news, kicking off this Monday, March 12. As usual, I’ll be periodically updating this post throughout the day with the latest news as I find it, so check back often. And if you have news to share, feel free to contact me and I can get that posted too.
This Saturday is St. Patrick’s Day, which of course means annual Irish-themed celebrations at many breweries! It’s one of the big holidays for McMenamins, with St. Patrick’s Day “across the land” celebrated at all locations, and this year several locations are hosting two- and three-day events. The two-day events will be at the Old Church in Wilsonville and the Gearhart Hotel; the three-day ones will be at the Edgefield, the Grand Lodge, Old St. Francis School, Hotel Oregon, and Kennedy School.
And one of the big ones is hosted by Kells Brewery in Portland—in fact, they are hosting two this weekend. Kells is featuring its 27th annual Irish Festival from Friday the 16th through Sunday the 18th, the largest St. Paddy’s festival in the Northwest, which celebrates “Irish heritage with live music, traditional Irish dancing, food and libations.” And then on Saturday and Sunday, the brewery is throwing its 2nd annual Irish Beer Festival as well; in addition to breweries and cidermakers from the Northwest, two breweries from Ireland will be present.
Cascade Brewing (Portland) released Melonius Blond on Friday, their first-ever bottled melon sour, aged with cataloupe and Summer Kiss melons. From the press release: “This limited offering is available in 750 ml bottles and on draft through Cascade’s regular distribution channels, as well as in-house at both its Portland area pubs. Showcasing Oregon-grown fruit harvested at peak ripeness, Melonius Blond offers notes of fresh summer melons, orange blossoms and sour candies, with a touch of honeycomb and green peppercorn. The beer is 6.8 percent alcohol by volume. The brewery produced just 50 barrels of Melonious Blond, which is a Tier One offering.”
Kobold Brewing (Bend): New beer releasing tonight at the Vault Taphouse in Redmond! From the email newsletter: “DIPA anyone? Today at 5:30pm I will release Kobold K-Juice IIPA, it’s an 8.8 ABV 85 IBU juicy brew. I used Azaca, Eldorado and Citra hops, in copious amounts, to achieve a huge tropical fruit aroma and flavor. So come enjoy a pint of Pineapple, Mango and Tangerine, wait beer, with those amazing flavors.”
A package from northern California’s Lost Coast Brewery arrived this weekend, containing three beers: Revenant IPA, Fogcutter Double IPA, and Imperial Stout. This is the first time I’ve received beers from Lost Coast, so I’m looking forward to reviewing these.